junk food kids: who’s to blame? YOU ARE, you lazy cow

Weigh in is now tomorrow – we’ve switched classes to allow us to stay to class. No recipe tonight as I’m in such a huff about a TV programme that I had to vent!

Please tell me someone else caught Junk Food Kids: Who’s To Blame on Channel 4 last week (and still on their catch-up service, now)? It takes a lot to get me screaming at the TV – normally it’s thick people on gameshows, or if Jeremy Kyle’s incredibly botoxed and exceptionally punchable face looms into the foreground like a possessed fleshy iron. But this documentary really took the biscuit, and gave it to a fat kid.

It was ostensibly a programme designed to look carefully at all sides of the argument over why Britain’s kids are getting fat, with several different streams running throughout focusing on different children, but what got my blood pressure rocketing even more than my swollen ankles usually manage was poor Tallulah (which I’ll spell correctly, even if your mother couldn’t quite manage all the requisite L’s needed to inscribe her own daughter’s name correctly in copperplate on her neck) and her oil-slick of a mother, Natalie. The kid was fat – not podgy or puppy-fat – but fat. She was in constant pain because her teeth had rotted down through so much sugar at the age of four, which ultimately resulted in her having to go under the knife and have 6 of her baby teeth removed.

It didn’t take long for the same old excuses to be trotted out, either – the poor lassie was fat because of her ‘fi-royd’. Fuck off, unless the thyroid was being deep-fried and served with a side of chips, we could probably rule that out. She gives her daughter Ribena at night instead of water because the alternative is ‘she’d (the mother) be up all night’. Boo hoo! It’s called parenting – you can’t expect Professor Weetos and Dr Pepper to look after your kid. She then missed an appointment at the dental hospital for her daughter because she couldn’t be bothered to roll out of bed of a morning. I despair.

It makes me enormously nettled when no-one dare say the truth to these parents – it’s YOUR fault. You’re feeding them crap and then wondering why their teeth are black and rotten. You choose to let them brush their teeth only when they want to and give them full sugar Ribena instead of cuddles and attention. You’re trying to be a friend instead of a parent and as a result, your child is fat and in pain. But instead of remedying this, you blame everyone else but yourself. I can’t fathom it – I love my cat, and if I thought he was in pain, I’d do anything I could to fix it – and I didn’t push him out of my vagina after nine months of nurturing. I don’t even HAVE a vagina.  I know Natalie loved her kid – but you’re supposed to, loving your kid doesn’t make you an amazing parent – nurturing and making sure they are healthy and happy does that.

There were others too, including a truculent little madam who sat through her dietitian appointment with her mobile in her hand, barely acknowledging or respecting the learned doctor, instead playing on Facebook whilst her mother looked on with a ‘well what can I do’ face on. Here’s what you do – you take the mobile out of your daughter’s hand, you drive 7 miles away and put it by the the side of the road. If it goes missing, tough titty, daughter learns a lesson. If it doesn’t, that’s a fourteen mile walk for your daughter and think of the weight-loss. If I’d disrespected someone like that when I was a kid – and I’m not some gosh-darn-it eighty-year-old, I’m only in my late twenties – my arse would have looked like a bag of raw mince from the back of my parent’s hands. But instead the mother kowtowed to her daughter’s moods and inclinations like some shaking shrew and then wondered why the daughter didn’t respect, acknowledge or follow her.

Of course, like most of Channel 4’s documentaries, it was pretty sneaky filming – they played the usual trick of letting the subject say something like ‘AH’VE NO IDEA HOW LITTLE BELLABRUSCO GOT CHUBBY’ and then panning the camera across a sea of off-brand crisps (Sprinters) and Aldi chocolate bars (N&Ns). I know it was designed to make the viewer annoyed and I know that I played along by getting irate and shaking my head in disbelief – I had to take a Stugeron afterwards because I felt seasick.